As a listening exercise I'm trying to see how the 3rd movement of Mozart's Concerto K.299 fits into the sonata-rondo form.

I don't know how many times I've listened to this piece, I don't seem to be able to find the pattern.

I can detect a few repeating sections, but I can't fit them in the ABACA..etc. Possibly because I am following the wrong sections?

Here are the sections (themes) I can detect (time stamped to this video):

section-1: ripiano (0:00)

section-2: ripiano (0:39)

section-3: harp (1:17)

section-3: repeated by flute (1:33)

section-4: starts with flute solo, harp accompnaiment (1:49)

section-5: flute with light string accompnaiment (2:37)

section-5: harp and winds (2:58)

section-5: repeat of time stamp 2:37 (3:44)

section-1: flute & harp (4:16)

section-1: ripiano followed by ripiano development (4:29)

section-6: flute with accompnaiment (4:54) the section is repeated

section-3: (5:17)

section-4: (6:11)

section-5: (6:43)

section-2: (7:40)

Cadenza: (8:30)

section-1: (9:16)

I have a feeling that I have too many sections, and some of these sections are variations on earlier sections.

In desperation, if I rename the sections as:

section-1: A

section-2: B

section-3, section-4, section5: C

Then I get A B C A C B A

1 Answer 1


The 3rd movement of Mozart's Concerto K.299 is indeed in sonata-rondo form, but I'd say your analysis isn't quite there.

First, this movement only fits the more flexible "'six-part' variant in Mozart" mentioned in the Wikipedia article about sonata-rondo form, with an [A B' A]exp [C"]dev [B A]recap form.

Sonata-rondo form often depends on its B section starting in a different key from the home key (often the key the exposition of a sonata-allegro in the same key would move to), then the next appearance of the B section being in the home key or tonic major. Thus, the true B section starts at a key change - listen for that the next time you try to detect sonata-rondo form! For this movement, the true B section only starts at 2:06 - you can ignore instrumentation and texture changes when detecting the B section.

You can tell that G major section (which corresponds to your Section 5 and part of your Section 4) is a B section because it reappears in the home key of C major at 6:11. (At least you got that label right.)

Your detection of Section 1 at 4:16 is spot-on, as that signifies the beginning of the first return of the A section. The lack of a developmental section preceding that returning A section is one of the hallmarks of sonata-rondo form.

I'd say the C section, a developmental section, actually starts at 4:47 with the fleeting modulation to A minor.

The third return of the A section, another hallmark of sonata-rondo form, is indeed at 7:38, roughly corresponding to your detection of Section 2 (which I'd call the A2 section) at 7:40.

This is therefore how I'd analyze this Mozart concerto 3rd movement:

Section A1: 0:00

Section A2: 0:39

Section B: 2:06

Section A1: 4:16

Section C: 4:47

Section B': 6:11

Section A2: 7:38

Cadenza: 8:35

Section A1: 9:14

  • 1
    @hba The biggest takeaway from this answer: Sometimes explanation of forms (including sonata-allegro) will talk about "first theme, second theme," etc., and direct your attention to melodic content, but this can let you down. The real cues are changes of key, and it's more useful to refer to "First Tonal Area, Second Tonal Area." Commented Mar 14, 2022 at 12:24
  • @AndyBonner - Absolutely...I get that as well. In fact, I seem to have a much easier time with Ritornello forms because it is a bit easier to follow. In addition to pointing out the importance of key-change the answer includes timestamps! Fantastic! The answer is a great learning tool. Much like your answer Andy on my bach violin concerto question :-)
    – hba
    Commented Mar 16, 2022 at 5:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.